[all photos in this blog are the property of Traci and Kevin Bold (copyrighted) except for the top image which is from dictionary.com]
confluence – noun
ninnyhammer – noun
foolish – adjective
- having or showing a lack of good sense or judgment
Actually St. Louis is going to wait. Along with my husband, we discovered a cool little town across the Mississippi River and just north from St. Louis. This little town is dubbed, ‘One of the most haunted towns in America’. For good reason too.
Alton sits on the east side near the Great Rivers confluence of the Mississippi River, Missouri River and the Illinois River. With numerous floodings since the beginning of Alton’s birth, and the fires and of course Ellis Island by Melvin Price Lock and Dam No. 26 hauntings are bound to happen. This little island housed the hospital for confederate POW’s between 1863 and 1865 who contracted mainly smallpox but other diseases as well. Close to two hundred soldiers died there and were buried. Locals told us that they do not go to the Island at night because of the hauntings. This little island is now a park and is a sanctuary for many birds.
Behind the bridge to St. Louis is a small island, Ellis Island, to which I refer. This is where the original lock and dam 26 was built.
Besides numerous haunted buildings and such in Alton there are many quaint antique shops (one of which is haunted) , good food such as Fast Eddie’s Bon-Air (Fast Eddie’s is for the 21 and over crowd, sorry kiddos) and so much history.
For more on the hauntings: http://www.visitalton.com/feature-stories/detail/36/haunted-alton
Let’s get back to history. When two rivers converge into one bigger river only a few miles apart (confluence), areas surrounding that can become big targets for flooding, being ports for merchant barges and then of course great habitat for fish and animals and birds. (Not to mention mosquitoes.)
The Mississippi and Missouri River have seen their fare share of natural disasters and the Illinois River has seen some as well, but in this area, when they all flood, catastrophe happens. The Lock and dam system from the North Mississippi River to just below Alton, Il was built to help the barges through to the upper part of the Mississippi River which is actually a shallower river. These dams were not built to control the flooding.
The Melvin Price Locks and Dam (No.26) has seen it’s share of flooding since being moved to its’ current location. There is a marker on the side of the cement elevator (which is still out of order) from the water level the river got to in 1993. In fact, today there is still a lot of wood caught up in the holding area of the dams that has been there since that flood.
This mess of wood is now home to numerous wildlife species. Now when I saw this, I immediately thought of all the crafting people out there who would love to have this wood but I believe to try to retrieve it at whim would be foolish as this is a highly protected government facility.
Recently in late 2015 15″ of rain fell so sand bags were filled and brought in feeling that another 1993 flood was going to happen but thankfully, it did not.
The dam is attached to the National Great Rivers Museum which gives so much information about this area as well as the lock and dam. You can tour the dam to a certain point but then to try to go further, you would be a ninnyhammer to do so however you can visit the museum and then mark it off of your National Museum Passport if you have one.
In one of the holding areas past the first lock is a perfect spot to spy a blue heron.
He knows where to fish for his dinner. The picture below is the area of the dam where this heron is.
Alton and the surrounding area have so much more to offer and to see and do but that is for another time.
Stay tuned for more about the fun St. Louis has to offer.